7th June’s meeting was a very relaxed affair in Alice Kent’s company. There to share with us the aims and work of the Writers’ Centre Norwich, and tell us something of Dragon’s Hall.
Beginning in 2003 as a joint enterprise between the UEA, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and the Arts Council England, the WCN supports and extends the university’s contribution to literature. Its aims include support to writers, commission of new works and, through its many workshops and Online Studies, encourage young talent.
Click here for details of all of the 2016 events the Centre are running.
In 2012 the Centre led our winning bid (in competition with Nottingham) to become an UNESCO City of Literature. This has done much to boost the city’s status as a major cultural and educational tourist destination – our literary heritage dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. Is it not fitting that the Centre’s home is around the corner from where the first woman published in the English language made her home?
Today Dragon Hall is staffed by twenty Writers’ Centre workers. Alice herself has been the Centre’s Director of Communications since March 2015. One of her biggest pleasures in her role is taking literature into schools and a love of literature to the hearts of tomorrow’s talent, principally via the UNESCO Young Ambassador Scheme.
Several building maintenance and renovation plans are currently on the table and it is hoped that come 2018, Dragon Hall will have evolved into a National Centre for Writing. And what might that gains our fine city? Capitalising on its existing status, it is hoped the Centre will offer accommodation for writers and translators in residence from around the world, a meeting place for writers to network and find space and peace in which to read and compose. It will also house its own teaching spaces for children and young adults.
Alice spoke with such infectious enthusiasm we were sorry she could not stay longer. Phyllida gave the vote of thanks, including a request for Alice to return at some stage as the redevelopment continues to keep us updated.
Just as an aside: An update is just what the Writers’ Centre Norwich is having right now. We look forward to announcing and featuring more of the Circle’s events and competitions there too in the coming months.
If you’ve not yet entered the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition you may be thinking you’ve not given yourself time to develop your plot, you’ve not lost your chance to win. There is still until next month to get your entries in. Deadlines: 17th July (Postal) & 31st (Email).
Click here for full guidelines.